Summer is almost here and many students will be getting outside on bikes and scooters at home. This week we focused on riding safely and under control. Several students brought helmets from home which is an excellent habit to get into each time you get on your bike or scooter. Students learned how to adjust the handlebars to the proper height and which way the handlebars faced so the front wheel was correctly positioned for riding. We also practiced stopping under control using the brake or stepping off and putting our feet down. Many students began to get the hang of switching feet - pushing with the right foot while making right turns and using the left foot to push while performing left turns. We ended the week with a classic "4 Corners" activity.
Only got to see kindergarten once this week due to the half day on Friday. However, the students were fully engaged in a fun activity using Beanie Babies, dice and some kiddie pools! This activity was adapted from a game called "Roll with It" by JD Hughes. He has a ton of great activities on his website at pe2themax.com
Grades 4 & 5
Our fourth and fifth graders worked toward earning an award in the PE Central Challenge this week! These skills have been re-visited throughout their elementary years and now it's time to see what they can do. These skill challenges are designed to be something students should be able to complete with practice. The repetition required to attain the various challenges is a great way to get students practicing basic skills and working toward a personal goal.
Obstacle Course Week!
This week was all about those foundational, functional fitness skills as students worked through a variety of obstacles to help them gain confidence & competence in their individual movement abilities. There was lots of dynamic balancing, jumping/landing, crawling, climbing, and running as students attacked each obstacle putting their skills to the test. On the second day of PE, students in grades 1-5 wore their FitStep Pro up-loadable pedometers to measure their activity levels and see how much MVPA (Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity) time they earned!
The light blue boxes and beams you see are part of the Railyard fitness system. I wrote a grant for this equipment through the Kane County Health Department "Fit for Kids" program. It travels around our District to any elementary school that wants to use it. It has been a great addition to our PE programs!
This week, all of our student experience the Heart Adventure Challenge which is an obstacle course designed to replicate a working model of the heart, lungs, and the pathways the blood flows in the body. On the second day of class, students wore their Gopher FitStep Pro pedometers to measure their activity levels and see how many minutes of MVPA time they could earn. Our 2nd & 3rd graders also completed 5 questions using their Plickers magnets to assess their cognitive knowledge of the heart course. If you'd like a copy of any of the visual content on this page CLICK HERE
Crazy week with several classes on Field Trips and no school on Friday, but we managed to pack in some fun in the gym!
This week I introduced a large-group invasion game called King Pin. It has 5 different positions and several rules, so our first day together we learned how to play and practiced a bit. The second day we played several rounds of the game mixing up teams after a team won 2 games. Many of the students said this was one of their favorite activities so far this year! Here's a look at how it is played...
Our 1st & 2nd grades focused on striking with paddles this week. We played a couple of warm up activities that emphasized moving to open spaces (Pizza Delivery Tag & Pancake Tag). Then we did a day of paddles & balloons followed by paddles & beanbags.
We only got to see kindergarten one time this week due to the Good Friday holiday, so we broke out the parachutes and built upon some of the basic activities and techniques students learned a couple weeks ago when we used the parachutes.
Congratulations to the 148 students who logged 25 hours of physical activity over the last two months and earned a FREE ticket to Raging Waves Waterpark this summer! Tickets were distributed to classroom teacher's mailboxes on Thursday so be looking for them in your student's backpack this weekend!
Our intermediate students finally finished up all of the fitness assessments this week. Once they finished, they chose from a variety of activity stations to play at. Students were hard at work in their classrooms doing some State testing and the free choice station format was a great way for them to come down to the gym and participate in something they enjoy!
Since all the equipment was out for our intermediate students, our primary kiddos took full advantage of free choice station days this week as well. There was a lot of different equipment options for everyone. Kindergarten only had PE once this week due to an assembly on Wednesday.
Many of our 3rd-5th grade classes finished their fitness testing this week. Typically, the most challenging component for students is the cardio-respiratory endurance assessment known as the PACER (Progressive Aerobic Capacity Endurance Run) test. Students run a distance of 20 meters back and forth across the gym to a specific cadence or “beep”. Each time they hear the beep they attempt to run to the other side of the gym before it beeps again. After each minute, the cadence gets faster. The second time a student fails to complete a lap, their test is over and the number of laps completed is recorded.
To give you an idea of what that is like, the Healthy Fitness Zone for our elementary students is considered 17+ laps. That equates to just over two minutes of running. While many students continue well past 17, I remind the students that everyone’s fitness level is unique and personal to them. Our focus is on the “process” of becoming more active or continuing to remain active outside of class instead of focusing on the “product” of how many laps completed. This shift in thinking helps students value their own skills and abilities thus leading towards increased participation in active pursuits. Ultimately, it is this active participation that is going to have the biggest impact on their future health and well-being.
Students participated in a variety of aerobic activities this week that focused on getting and keeping kids moving at a moderate to vigorous level for extended periods of time. DAY 1 started off with a Popsicle Stick Run followed by Champions & Challengers. Although the focus of Champions & Challengers is on throwing for accuracy, there is a good amount of running around the gym too. I also decided to switch up the way we did the Popsicle Stick Run. Typically they start with a certain amount of sticks in their hand and get rid of one each time they complete a lap. This week they started with no sticks and earned one each time they completed a lap.
DAY 2 began with a chasing & fleeing activity called "Fire & Ice Tag" and then we did a small group activity called "Cardio Card Hunt" of "Go Fish" where students took turns running across the gym and back looking for cards that match the suit they started with.
Finally, our kindergartners had a blast with some parachute activities!
One of the highlights of my week was joining dozens of other PE teachers, retired PE teachers, and college PE majors and professors on Wednesday for Shape Up Illinois. Each year this event takes place at the Capitol building in Springfield. It is our chance, as a profession, to speak with legislators about supporting the importance of quality physical education programs in schools across the State.
I got a chance to meet face to face with several representatives and a senator to speak about current bills that are on the table that would impact PE programs in schools. I had a chance to educate many with what we do and share what the current research says. Although it was a brief trip, I believe the impact our group had on everyone we spoke to was positive. I am proud of the opportunity I had to advocate for the profession on behalf of students. Here's a quick look at my time there...
This week our 3rd-5th graders continued their personal fitness assessments as they performed two tests that measured their muscular strength and endurance. The also got a chance to play at some free choice stations when they weren't testing. The students are really doing a great job assessing each other and encouraging their partners to do their best!
Our K-2 students got a chance to participate in "free choice" stations this week. We had a variety of equipment for students to choose from. They got to choose what they wanted to do and how long they wanted to do it. Learning to be in charge of their activity choices and how to manage their time are valuable life skills. The only directions for the day were to use the equipment & space safely, take turns/share the equipment, and stay active! Below is a diagram of the equipment we had out this week & a quick video of a first grade class working at the different stations.
Parents, ask your student what some of their favorite activities were!!
This week our students are continuing to build up their cardio-respiratory endurance and practice the "pacing" for our annual spring fitness testing. On day 1, we warmed up with a 4 minute "Partner PACER" where students ran 2 laps, then rested for 2 laps. Each student completed 16 laps and ran for a total of 2 minutes. This was an increase in time from last week's "3-Person PACER" where students completed 10-11 laps and ran for a total of 1 min. & 20 secs. On day 2, we did a 2-min individual PACER practice where students ran every lap (15 total) for 2 minutes straight. After this warm-up, students completed the sit & reach assessment to measure their hamstring/lower back flexibility. After we did our fitness activities for the day the students got to spend the remainder of class engaged in "free choice" stations with a variety of equipment.
Our K-2 students got a chance to participate in "free choice" stations this week. We had a variety of equipment for students to choose from. They got to choose what they wanted to do and how long they wanted to do it. Learning to be in charge of their activity choices and how to manage their time are valuable life skills. The only directions for the day were to use the equipment & space safely, take turns/share the equipment, and stay active! Some of the equipment we had out this week were jump ropes, hula hoops, scoops, hand trampolines, paddles, basketballs, ribbon sticks, tumbling mat, and the climbing wall.
This week we jumped back into some basketball skills (mainly dribbling & some shooting) with grades 3-5. The SHAPE America Grade Level Outcomes we focused on for dribbling/ball control are listed below...
Here's a complete look at DAY 1's basketball lesson in action!
It's time to begin prepping for our upcoming State mandated spring fitness testing! We started work on our cardio-respiratory endurance for the PACER test by doing a 3-Person PACER to begin to get the pacing down. This was done as a 4 minute warm-up activity. With our left over time, students worked on throwing for accuracy with a couple rounds of "Make It, Take It."
This week was all about eye-hand coordination with our K-2 students. DAY 1 we did a spin on an activity called "Catch the Critters" which focuses on catching a self-toss. We added catching from a partner and flipping a bean bag and catching with a paddle. Check out the video below to see a 1st grade class in action!
DAY 2 gave students a choice to try 10 levels of bean bag challenges with both easier and harder options. Students also go to experience tossing at a target with Koosh balls in "Make It, Take It."
This Week in #PhysEd
Check out all the fun "learning" going on in the gym at Williamsburg Elementary!